Samuel Tupou
  • Samuel Tupou, The Seeker, 2016
  • Samuel Tupou, Thrill Seeker / Heart Beater, 2017
  • Samuel Tupou, Norman Park Station, 2016

Samuel Tupou makes art that is known for its exploration of pattern, repetition and vibrancy, inspired by family, culture and identity. Born in Dunedin, New Zealand, in 1976, Tupou draws on his heritage from Tonga and the Pacific in his work. He currently lives in Brisbane, where he manages design firm Polygone Cowboy. Tupou began his career working with traditional tapa cloth patterns, fabrics that narrate their origins with a distinctive aesthetic. More recently, he has explored the way imagery and patterns from our past may morph and adapt to take on new meaning, and the impact of the global reach of technology and its avalanche of imagery. These works incorporate remnants from popular culture with disparate elements coalescing in work that uses the optical qualities of the bitmap. These images are produced using photographic silkscreen on Perspex which further explores the plasticity of Western culture.

The dynamic aesthetic qualities of his work have been utilised in public art commissions in Mt Gravatt, Brisbane; Centre of Contemporary Art, Cairns; Cairns Base Hospital and Earlville Public Library (both Cairns).

Tupou has had solo exhibitions spanning 2002 to the present, notably New Tapa at Brisbane’s Institute of Modern Art (2005) and New Patterns of Identity at Tanks Art Centre, Cairns (2002). Group exhibitions include News from Islands at Campbelltown Arts Centre (2007), where he created sliding skull doors and wall sculptures, both of which honoured his grandfather. Tupou’s work is held in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia (Canberra), Cairns Regional Gallery (Cairns), Centre of Contemporary Art (Cairns), Artbank (Sydney), and the State Library of Victoria (Melbourne).

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Sam Tupou’s public art commissions are handled exclusively through CREATIVEMOVE.


Sam Tupou is represented by Onespace Gallery.